December 19th is set to go down as a black day in Indian cricket history after the most extraordinary batting cap surrenders in Adelaide skipped it for a historic test low of 36.
Ironically, this “Adelaide Oval Massacre” comes exactly four years after Karun Nair in Chennai scored the highest test total of 759-7 after a triple ton of Karun Nair.
Absolutely no one would have foreseen the remarkable events of Saturday when India’s batsmen took on an Australian team that was on their backfoot after two matchdays. The early dominance ultimately counted for nothing and was undone in just an hour of the most surgically precise swing bowling by Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
It was the boxing equivalent of a fighter who dominated for 11 rounds only to be knocked down by an opponent’s sucker. Confusion was the common expression among experts and fans as India’s batsmen made a procession into the locker room.
With all the talk about the pink ball becoming known under lights at dusk, it was a clear afternoon sky in Adelaide when the horror unfolded for Virat Kohli and his men.
The post-mortem of this punch ad will be seen on television screens and other media in the coming days, although the events may have been insane in nature and did not require any rational explanation. In the past decade alone, there have been epic breakdowns from hits involving impressive test sites like Australia, New Zealand and England.
India’s dramatic fall on Saturday is not the first such collapse and it is certainly not the last.
However, it is what awaits visitors in the three remaining tests that carries the warning of inevitable doom. They’ll do without their talisman and best batsman for the remainder of the series, and Kohli will be returning to India on paternity leave.
That he looked like her batsman from afar in Adelaide will only add more salt to India’s wounds.
Their misery was only exacerbated by Mohammed Shami’s injury, with the Pacemaker being excluded from the rest of the tour after breaking his arm on the opening test. It leaves India alarmingly short on the tempo department, especially given that Ishant Sharma is already unavailable until the third test.
Even more worrying for India, Australia’s top batsmen haven’t even taken shape. Steve Smith was unusually subdued in Adelaide while Marnus Labuschagne was far from his flowing best in a raspy inning of blissful breaks.
Meanwhile, David Warner wasn’t even in the XI with a groin injury. These three loft stalwarts are sure to make it into their home environment soon.
By giving early momentum to an Australian side who weren’t at their best at the start, India could have sealed their fate for the rest of the tour. Australian skipper Tim Paine quickly pointed this out after the victory in Adelaide in order to put even more mental pressure on a fragile Indian team.
“I’m absolutely thrilled with the way we bowled in this test, but we still have a lot of work to do on our batting ankle – our first innings were well below what we expected – so it’s a good thing to do one have a good win and nowhere near doing our best. This fills our team with confidence, ”explained Paine after the 1-0 advantage.
How can India’s batsmen even recover after being pitted for their lowest Test total ever? The turnaround for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne is short and leaves the visitors little time to regroup mentally from Adelaide drubbing.
They have to start a possible fight without the services of their best players against an Australian team that has now smelled blood. Since the last series Australia in 2018-19, the tables have turned for both sides.
It was then Australia that was hampered by the absence of Smith and Warner, with India taking over the early ascent in Adelaide.
The Aussies immediately recovered with the win in Perth before being thoroughly outdone by the Indians in the third and fourth Tests.
Even a win seems like a bridge too far for the current Indian side against a side that has recently whitewashed Pakistan and New Zealand on home soil.
The writing appears to be on the wall for the time being for the wounded visitors, and even an encore from Cheteshwar Pujara’s displays from 2018-19 might not be enough to get them out of the rut.
Weird things have happened before in sports, and you just have to look at the bizarre collapse on Saturday to see that nothing is really unlikely.
Learn more about the Sport360 application